Paganism in the Church - Part 1

Scripture: Isaiah 14:13-14, Ezekiel 28:17, Job 31:26-28
Has paganism crept into the church? There are only two powers in our universe, the power of God or Satan. We will trace through time and the Bible the deceptive work of the devil to lead God's people away from truth. Sun worship was one of his deceptions.
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Today I'd like to introduce a series of talks entitled "Paganism In The Church." And friends, I will not be pulling any punches during this special series of broadcasts. I can't even tell you how long they will continue, but the time has come for us to see the reality of this age- old controversy between good and evil. Multitudes of Christians complacently accept the trappings of heathen doctrine without even recognizing its evil origin. Unless we know the full truth of what the Bible teaches on these great doctrines, the enemy of our souls will be able to masquerade his own lies in the costume of truth.

Today there are only two supernatural powers operating in the world around us-the power of God and the power of Satan. If something is taking place before our eyes which has no explanation from a human basis, it would have to be accounted for by one of the great superhuman powers of God or Satan.

In today's broadcast I would like for us to trace through time and through the Bible how the devil has so cleverly counterfeited many of the good things of God that millions are actually ascribing good things to Satan and evil things to God. The impersonation and imitation on the part of Satan has been so subtle and deceptive that entire Christian churches have been deceived by it.

It all started in the days of Adam and Eve when God instituted a religious ceremony after the entrance of sin. It was to be a temporary system pointing forward to a divine Saviour who would redeem the world from the curse of sin and death. It revolved around the slaying of a lamb representing the Messiah who would later come to give His own life as an atoning substitute for man. That system of sacrifice was not easy for Adam and Eve to carry out. They had to watch an innocent animal bleed to death by their own hand. Every time they lifted that knife to cut the throat of another beautiful lamb their own sin and its terrible results came vividly to mind.

Satan watched Adam very closely as he went through this ceremony. By observing the symbolism of that sacrificial offering Satan realized that God had given Adam a way of escape from his sinful dilemma, and he determined to do something about it. If he could set up his own sacrificial system that would turn men away from the worship of God, he could be worshiped instead of the Creator. By cleverly counterfeiting the institutions of God Satan himself could build a religious system that would honor him instead of the true God of heaven. So immediately he began to set about to institute his own sacrificial system that would even demand more than God's system. As we shall find later it even required the offering up of sons and daughters. Also, since God had established a special holy day for His worship in the Garden of Eden-the Sabbath-Satan determined that he also would have a special day of worship that would glorify him.

The overall counterfeit plan of Satan involved robbing God of His authority and worship. In Isaiah 14:13,14 the course was laid out by the boastful words of Lucifer. He said, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High."

Now friends, there is the embryo of Satan's plan. If he intended to be like God he would have to have a government, a throne, and a false worship based on a counterfeit religion. I want you to see how he established that substitute form of worship. It was to be set up on the principle of sun-worship. Since the sun was the most potent force in nature and was the source of earthly light and power, it seemed a ready made symbol of Satan himself and what he was seeking to ascribe to himself.

But let's pause now and get the Bible authority for this plan of the devil. First of all, notice that Lucifer's name actually means "day star." You will find that in the margin of your Bible by Isaiah 14:12. Describing Satan the Bible says, "thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." Ezekiel 28:17. Listen, the day star of this world is the sun and that is why Lucifer or Satan chose the sun as the object through which he would be worshiped. And even though it took hundreds of years to achieve, Satan scored a strategic victory in his campaign for sun worship when he finally was able to substitute the pagan day of sun worship in place of God's true seventh-day Sabbath. And the greatest tragedy is that millions of modern Christians are unaware that, by keeping Sunday, they are rejecting the one great sign God commanded men to observe in recognition of His being the only true God. They do not understand that they are observing a day which was dedicated to sun worship many, many centuries ago.

I have been amazed, friends, in reading the historical sources to discover that Sunday-keeping reaches back to hundreds of years before Christ was born. As a matter of fact, Sunday-keeping is almost as old as Sabbath-keeping, because very early in history Satan set up his counterfeit system.

Now, let's look at the biblical background of the practice. The book of Job, so we are told by the biblical authorities, was one of the first books written and was probably written by a contemporary of Moses himself, and did you know that this ancient book talks about the worship of the sun? Listen to this: "If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: This also were an iniquity...for I should have denied the God that is above." Job. 31:26-28. Did you get that friends? Job said, "If I backslide and my heart has been enticed to worship the sun or the moon, it would be a sinful denial of the true God."

By the way, maybe you have wondered at times about the origin of the modern religious custom of kissing the hand-this seems to be the root of such a practice pagan sun-worship. I tell you, friends, I am glad for the words of Scripture that can reveal the things of God to us, aren't you?

Did you know that God had a hard time with his own people in regards to that satanic practice of sun worship? The devil made it so alluring and fascinating that the children of Israel were constantly turning away from the true Sabbath-keeping and from worshiping the true God of Heaven. Did you ever wonder about the text in Exodus 32:1-4 concerning the golden calf that the Israelites made while Moses was up in the mountain with God? Verse 5 says, "they rose up early on the morrow." That calf was called "apis" by the Egyptians and was tied in with their pagan sun worship. That is why they rose up early -to worship the sun. No wonder Moses was so outraged that he threw down the tables of stone and broke them to pieces. Do you see, friends, how this thing came into the church long before the days of Jesus?

Now let's look at another interesting fact-you have heard of Baal worship, of course. The Old Testament is full of stories about it. But did you know that Baal worship was sun worship? In 2 Kings 23:5 we read this, "And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven." There it is in plain language. Satan has perfected an entire false religious system based upon sun worship or Baal worship. And God's own people were often drawn away by it. Satan himself was being worshiped under the title of Baal. The Bible calls Baal worship devil worship. Did you know that? Here it is in Leviticus 17:7, "And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils after whom they have gone whoring." Later on at Baal-peor we read about that terrible apostasy of Israel. In Numbers 25:2-4 it says, "And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods, and Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor; and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel."

No wonder God was displeased with them; they were worshiping Baal, the sun god, and Baal worship is actually worshiping devils. This is why the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out devils in the name of Beelzebub. That is the Greek word for the Hebrew name of Baalzebub, the sun-god of Ekran spoken of in 2 Kings 1:2,3. The Pharisees said, "This fellow doth not cast out devils but by Beelzebub, the prince of devils." Matthew 12:24. Here again we have proof that Baal worship is devil worship.

But listen to this: Down through the centuries the distinguishing mark that separated the pagans from God's people was their day of worship, which was Sunday, or Sun's day. The pagans worshiped the sun on Sunday. They took the first day of the week and gave it the highest honor by naming it in honor of the sun god and worshiping the sun on that day. God's people kept the Sabbath, or seventh day of the week-the day that God had blessed and made holy at creation. Thus, the distinguishing mark of the heathen was their Sunday; and the mark of God's people was the Sabbath. (Read Ezekiel 20:12-20).

Imagine, if you can, what a spectacle for the universe to behold! Through the centuries, God's people kept the commandments of God including the Sabbath and offered their sacrifices which typified or represented the death of Christ when he would come and die for sinners. On the other hand were the heathen who worshiped the sun, kept Sunday, and offered their own sons and daughters in the fire or crucified human victims on crosses to appease the sun god. I say again, what a terrible thing for Heaven to behold! How the Devil tried to insult Christ's sacrifice! Satan tried constantly to get God's people away from the true God and the true Sabbath; but God continued to send messages to His people through the prophets that they should obey Him.

In the next broadcast we shall uncover the pagan foundations upon which many doctrines of modern, popular Christianity have been founded. Please don't miss any of these broadcasts, friends, because the hour is too late to just putter around the edges of the truth. Vague generalities and platitudes may have satisfied another generation, but this happens to be the last generation just before Jesus returns, and we must know for sure where we stand.

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